5 Effective Ways Caregivers Ask for Help

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Let’s look at ways caregivers ask for help. Caregivers know this better than anyone:

Caregiving is stressful.

It can be addressed creatively, and hopefully, effectively. The old adage is true: “Many hands make light work” is true. When divided between several people, any task becomes smaller for each contributor.

Sometimes, it just takes looking at the challenge in a different manner.

Art and Science

Asking for help with your caregiving responsibilities is as much art as it is science. One needs to be creative in identifying the tasks with which other can lend a hand. At the same time, being very calculated in how you ask the questions is a key element of a successful “ask.”

There is no one right way – only the best way for you!

Help People Help You by Helping Them

Please remember: people generally want to help others.

Helping others provides a fulfilling emotion in all of us, and it is one that often helps ourselves as much as it benefits those we are assisting.

The problem is that while most people want to help the caregivers in their lives, they often don’t know how. That may seem simple, but getting to an answer takes a little effort.

Be Specific

When you reach out to someone to ask for assistance, give them a good idea of what’s involved. Instead of:

“Can you come over to help me with Mom?”

You might ask by saying:

“I could use your help Tuesday. Would you be able to come over and sit with Mom from 11:00 until about 3:00 while I have lunch with a friend and run some errands? I’ll have her lunch all ready for you – you’ll just need to put it together, eat with her, and chat with her for a few hours.”

See the difference? Knowing the task, time, expectations makes it a much easier sell!

Right Person for the Job

It is all too common of a story we hear, about a caregiver beating their heads against the wall trying to get a family member to pitch in. After all, you rightfully believe that many hands make any job easier.

The challenge?

Getting the right hands doing the right things. Your reluctant family member may not be cut out for bathing or toileting duty. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be helpful. Let’s take a look at ways you can get help – even from the most stubborn source.

Burden is Burden: Any Reduction Helps Caregivers

Rather than focus on “caregiving” support, you may want to look at other ways you can benefit from some assistance. Your caregiving responsibilities are multi-faceted, but only some are actual hands on activities. Here’s 5 ways you can get help. Let us know about other tasks with which you’ve gotten assistance in the comments below.

1. Grocery Shopping

Think about the several hours a week it takes to get to prep for the shopping run, get to the store, shop, get home, and put groceries away. You may have your loved one in tow if they can’t be left alone, or coordinate with someone to watch them while you’re gone.

Wouldn’t it be simpler if that bodily-fluid-squeamish relative made the grocery run for you? They don’t have to run bath water, and you take a burden off your shoulders.

And this isn’t charity! You’ll pay for the groceries. It’s just that if they are going to the store “anyway” and can pick you up a few things, you save a huge amount of time!

2. Getting the Car Serviced

Talk about an adventure! If your loved on can’t be alone and if they are… ahem… a challenge when waiting in a customer waiting area, you may have an opportunity. Instead of killing several hours just to get that oil changed, you could ask that car buff in your life to help out.

OK. This is only a few times per year. But these thing are additive. The more you can delegate the right things to the right people, the more they add up to time saved for you!

3. Medication Refills

The same logic applies here as in the grocery shopping example. Rather than schedule and coordinate a time for you to get to the pharmacy, a friend or relative could easily take care of that for you. They’re going that way anyway… why not just pick them up for you?

Better yet, if you have automated refill services available, and the prescriptions can be mailed to the home, you save that “ask” for another chore.

4. Household Finances

This one may be a bit tricky, but not impossible. Given the right set of circumstances, that “standoffish” relative might be the right person to sort the mail, manage your loved one’s checkbook, and keep the bills paid and the lights on. Not once do they have to change dirty clothes, but you’ve eliminated a big chore, several times per month.

Give it some thought. In the right situation, this (or some variation of an “administrative” support assistant) could be an enormous burden lifted.

5. Yard Work

Running around behind the mower could be a much easier sell than trying to get help with administering medications. It’s understood, this effort may actually be cathartic for you, but in the end, it does take a considerable amount of time. Hey, why not teach responsibility to that adolescent nephew?

Courtesy Unsplash

Don’t Drown. Ask.

These are just a few examples. The hope is that for every example shown above, it sparks a creative thought on an option that fits your specific caregiving situation. Regardless of the scenario that works for you, the logic is sound: be specific on what you identify as ways to help, and then pose the question… strategically.

But you have to ask. And you must ask specifically.

By building a base of support in many areas of your caregiving experience, you can still reduce the stress and involve more people in the care you provide.

Remember the whole “many hands” thing?